Bellator has announced that Ryan Bader’s next heavyweight title defense will take place in the challenger’s home country, as he will face Cheick Kongo in Paris, France on May 6.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) January 30, 2022
After nearly three years since his last heavyweight title defense and his return to the weight class on Saturday, Ryan Bader will not be slowing down, as Bellator announced his next bout during Saturday’s broadcast. The promotion revealed that Bader will be defending his title against Cheick Kongo in the challenger’s home country at an event in Paris, France on May 6. The bout is a rematch from their 2019 bout, which ended in a No Contest following an accidental eye poke.
Bader (29-7) returned to the win column with his Bellator 273 title defense against Valentin Moldavksy. A former two-division champion in Bellator, Bader stated that he would not be moving back down to 205 pounds at this point in his career following a loss to Corey Anderson last October. Bader moved up to the heavyweight division during the inaugural Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2018, and won the tournament and the vacant championship.
Kongo (31-11-2) is looking for redemption from their 2019 bout, which was ended early after an accidental eye poke from Bader led to Kongo being unable to continue. That resulted in the bout being ruled a No Contest, leaving Kongo in pursuit of the rematch ever since. That result aside, Kongo is on a 9-1 run with victories against former champion Vitaly Minakov and Sergei Kharitonov.
Bellator’s May 6 event will take place at the Accor Arena in Paris, France. No other bouts have been made official at this time.